Christine L. Thompson, 37
I started running at the age of 12 and didn’t like it at first. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I realized I was given a gift to run. I competed in both varsity cross country and track in high school, and I’ve had a love for running ever since. My current marathon PR is 3:21 at the Chicago Marathon, and my BQ race for this year was at the 2013 PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon (3:29:53). The last time I ran Boston was in 2012, and cheering for me on the side was my best friend, Lisa Persicke.
Little did I know, I had less than a year left with her — she was struck by a car and killed during a training run for the Chicago Marathon on August 19, 2012. The car never stopped. I too was running that morning. Even though we lived in different states at the time, Lisa and I stayed on the same training schedule and kept each other motivated. When I found out the news that my best friend had passed away, I had just finished a 20-miler — and Lisa hadn’t even made it one mile. When given the horrible news that morning, my knees buckled from underneath me, and I had no idea how I was going to keep moving forward, but I did.
Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?
Running the Boston Marathon three times has always been my goal. This was the year that Lisa and I were going to run it together. Lisa and I have both ran the Boston Marathon, although we never ran during the same year. This was the year that Lisa and I were supposed to cross the finish line together. My heart breaks every time I realize I will not see her smiling face at the end. But despite my grief, I persevere. Despite my sadness, I keep living. Despite my fears, I keep running.
What part of the course/event are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the endless support of spectators on the course, the camaraderie from other runners and of course, the challenge of Heartbreak Hill.
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What does “Boston Strong” mean to you?
Boston Strong is about the struggle we overcome as runners, the journey it takes to get to the starting line, and the journey it takes to get to the finish. Boston Strong is about not giving up when things get challenging. With one step at a time, we will get to our destination no matter the distance or amount of time it takes to get us there. Within 48 hours of Lisa’s death I ran along the same trail she and I had ran together just months before. This is Boston Strong. Boston Strong means pushing through even though you are scared. It means continuing to do the thing you love, even though something so detrimental has come from it. It means never giving up.
Who is coming out to support you this year?
This year I will be running with Theresa Gill, Jill Klei, and Lisa Welsch. The daughter of Lisa Persicke will there cheering us on.
What is your race-day goal?
This year’s race-day goal is to lose myself in the moment, to be inspired by all who surround me and, most of all, to have fun. The Boston Marathon this year will be a celebration of strength!